FLIPS, spins, slides and grabs will soon be regular features on Bas Vegas’s new wakeboarding lake.
Thrillseekers will be pulled around the lake on a wakeboard – at speeds of up to 18mph – thanks to a circuit of cables attached to pylons.
Patric Foley-Brickley, joint owner, said: “Wakeboarding’s exciting and it’s relatively easy to learn because it’s controlled – much easier than surfing – so it suits all ages, genders and abilities.
“There are only ten wakeboarding lakes in the country, so we’re hoping this will bring people from across the UK – and the world – into Basildon. We’ve already had lots of interest.
“Most lakes of this size are in rural areas, so to find one in somewhere like Festival Leisure Park, which already has restaurants, pubs, hotels and a cinema, is ideal.”
A grand launch, with performances from professional wakeboarders, is planned for the bank holiday weekend at the beginning of May, but the lake is scheduled to open to the public within the next three weeks.
Sessions will cost £20 an hour, or £25 for two hours, and people will be able to hire and buy wakeboarding equipment from a shop at the back of Festival Leisure Park – which also has changing rooms, showers and a viewing balcony.
There is a dedicated beginners’ section of cables, where children as young as eight will be able to receive lessons, while birthday parties, stag and hen dos and women’s only sessions will also be catered for.
Experienced wakeboarders can perform tricks like grabs – when they grab their board during a jump – and inverts – where the rider flips upside down – above the water.
Openwater swimmers, primarily triathletes training for competitions, will also have allocated times to plunge into the water, while anglers who previously used the lake for fishing will have their own fenced-off section.
Patric, from Maldon, has used his background in financial services to deliver the project, which has created 15 jobs.
His business partners, Vince Turp, who already runs Gosford Lake waterski centre, near Halstead, and James Baxter, an estate agent, have also contributed their expert knowledge.
Patric said: “We’re hoping to get the world’s top wakeboarders here next year for a competition, which everyone will be able to watch.”